Lewis Hamilton Breaks Months Of Silence
Follow all the latest Formula One news and updates on a potentially significant day, as the F1 Commission meets in London to discuss the controversial end to last season’s title race between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Hamilton is awaiting the results on an inquiry into how the closing stages of the race were allowed to unfold, after race director Michael Masi decided to permit some but not all cars to pass the safety car, setting up a final-lap shootout as Max Verstappen overtook him on fresh tires to win the title.
Today is the day where the findings of Formula One’s investigation into Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are set to be presented, but the results may not be published until the eve of the 2022 season in Bahrain in March. It has been reported that Hamilton’s future in the sport hinges of the outcome of the F1 Commission’s inquiry into the controversy, although the 37-year-old has returned to Mercedes ahead of the team’s car launch later this week. AlphaTauri will become the latest team to unveil their 2022 car today, as Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda reveal their new car, with Williams, Ferrari and Mercedes all set for their car launches later this week.
Follow all the latest Formula One news and updates below:
Schumacher says track experience can help in 2022
Mick Schumacher says that the knowledge he built up of the circuits on the Formula 1 calendar in his rookie season can be a huge benefit going into 2022.
“This year, I go to venues knowing what to expect, so that means I don’t have to fight my way through the traffic in FP1 and can straight away start developing the car and set-up,” he told The Race.
“It’s just super-beneficial that if you start off with a close set-up then you are very quickly, let’s say in FP2, sure of your set-up. Then the whole Saturday becomes so much easier because you can just focus on the points you need for qualifying. So my hope is very high for this year and the expectations are also quite high.”
Dan Austin14 Feb 2022 15:22
FIA could add two assistants to Masi’s team
The FIA could add two assistants to Michael Masi’s Race Control team in order to relieve the strain on the Race Director and divide the role’s responsibility into more manageable chunks.
Motorsport.com reports that the men the FIA are considering bringing in are current World Endurance Car Championship Race Director Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich, who formerly fulfilled the same role in the DTM series.
The report adds that the plan would be for Wittich to attend races in order to support Masi, while Freitas would operate from a remote location using video footage, possibly in Geneva.
Dan Austin14 Feb 2022 15:07
Marko wants Masi to remain F1 Race Director
Red Bull Racing advisor Helmut Marko says he hopes Michael Masi remains in place as Formula 1’s Race Director.
The Australian’s position has been under threat ever since his unprecedented management of the safety car period at the end of the 2021 season finale at Abu Dhabi, when he essentially gifted the title to Max Verstappen after appearing to go against the rulebook.
Marko, though, says Masi should be scapegoated about the incident.
“The primary purpose of the investigation is to clarify that Masi was simply overwhelmed in that situation, and that the team bosses cannot continue to interfere with race management over the radio,” he told Kleine Zeitung. “Everything should be clearer. I think they will try to relieve the race management a little more.”
Dan Austin14 Feb 2022 14:52
Seidl expects three sprint races in 2022
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl expects today’s F1 Commission meeting to decide that three sprint events are to take place in 2022.
Some teams have been concerned about being forced to pay out more for spare car parts if the number of sprint events is increased, but Seidl says McLaren is well-prepared for six if they come to pass.
“We will have further talks in the Commission on Monday and then hopefully we will finally know what the plans for this year look like,” the German said. “I guess that at the moment it is more towards three sprint races. [Six] doesn’t give us any additional headaches. It’s not difficult to adapt to it.”
Dan Austin14 Feb 2022 14:37
Sprint races also on agenda at F1 Commission meeting
The F1 Commission was always due to meet in advance of the 2022 season, regardless of the FIA’s update on its analysis of the Abu Dhabi incident, and another item on the agenda will be the running of sprint races in 2022.
In 2021 the series tested F1 Sprint on three occasions, at Silverstone, Monza, and Interlagos. The format sees qualifying shifted to Friday evening, with a short race then taking place on Saturday, from which the finishing order sets the grid for the main grand prix on Sundays.
Formula 1 wanted to increase the number of sprint races to six for this season, but complaints from teams about the financial implications of having to run their cars competitively more often has made coming to an agreement difficult so far.
The circuits at which the sprint events are run could be altered in an attempt to keep the format fresh for viewers.
Dan Austin14 Feb 2022 14:22
FIA to inform F1 commission of Abu Dhabi investigation findings
Motorsport governing body the FIA is to inform the Formula 1 Commission of the findings of its investigation into the running of the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December.
Michael Masi’s unprecedented interpretation of the safety car rules, which essentially gifted the title to Max Verstappen after Lewis Hamilton had led the majority of the race, incited fury from fans, pundits and drivers alike. The FIA placed Mercedes by promising a thorough investigation into the incident.
Today’s meeting in London will see the FIA present its findings to the principals of each Formula 1 team, its CEO Stefano Domenicali, and other important figures who run the sport.
Mercedes’ Toto Wolff and Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner are both in attendance, but any decisions taken by the governing body are not to be publicly announced until the weekend of the first race in Bahrain on March 18.
Dan Austin14 Feb 2022 14:07
Alpine adds F2 drivers to academy for 2022
The Alpine team has added two rookie Formula 2 drivers to its academy for the 2022 campaign.
Jack Doohan and Olli Caldwell, who will race for Virtuosi Racing and Campos Racing respectively in the junior category this season, are joining the French outfit’s up-and-coming ranks.
Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso will race for Alpine again after leading the team to a fifth-place finish in the constructors’ standings in 2021, its finish season since being re-branded by its parent company Renault.
20-year-old Oscar Piastri will serve as the team’s test and reserve driver for 2022, after winning the F2 championship in December.
Dan Austin14 Feb 2022 13:51
Ricciardo welcomes winter “refresher” in Australia
Ricciardo has also been discussing his return home to Australia over the course of the winter break, after being unable to travel home for two years due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The 31-year-old has been based in the UK for over a decade but was born and raised in Perth in Western Australia.
“It was lovely to get back,” Ricciardo said. “It wasn’t without some struggles, because I was staring at a hotel ceiling for two weeks. But actually walking out and getting a hug from Mum and Dad and all the rest of it, it was really nice.
“Out of quarantine, I had four weeks at home, and a lot of that was with the family. So just doing really simple things, and catching up. It was the refresher I needed. It’s always hard leaving, it doesn’t make leaving any easier, but that was a fix that I needed, and I certainly longed for at times in ’21.”
Dan Austin14 Feb 2022 13:36
Ricciardo hopes for more overtaking from new rules
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo is hoping that the Formula 1 regulation change will herald a new era of bigger and bolder overtaking.
The Australian is now for overtaking skill and ability to brake lighter than rivals, and will be one of the drivers most likely to benefit if the new regulations do allow closer wheel-to-wheel racing.
†[The previous era’s] cars were so fast, you braked so late and it was so hard to get close to another car,” he explained after the launch of McLaren’s new challenger for 2022, the MCL36. “So to pull of moves was just tricky. Now, if [the changes] allow us to be closer and have a little bit more of a braking zone, I hope we have to brake a little bit earlier in these cars and buy ourselves a bit more distance to work with.
Dan Austin14 Feb 2022 13:21
Franz says full cost cap impact coming in 2023
Tost also believes that the full impact of the cost cap introduced by Formula 1 will only being to be felt in 2023.
The series has implemented the cap in an attempt to reduce costs for all teams and to decrease the gap between the big spenders at the front of the grid and those behind. The cost cap for 2022 is $140m, which is the limit for what teams can spend on building and developing their cars.
“I think the full effect of the cost cap will only be seen in 2023 with a further budget reduction,” said Alpha Tauri team principal said. “Because at that point no team will have an advantage, and everyone will have to take care to stay within the cost cap. Last year, the cost cap was absolutely of no concern for us, as we operated at a level far below it, but it seems that these completely new cars are much more expensive than those from previous years.
Dan Austin14 Feb 2022 13:06